Brett Gardner was named AL Player of the Week because he average .520, going 13-for 25, with 5 doubles, a home run, and 6 RBIs in a single week. I think where he really found his stride was during the Cleveland games earlier in the week, where his offense started complementing his already stellar defense and really earned him something worthy of praise. But he’s also hit safely at least once in every game last week. As of this posting, he currently has a .284 average, the highest of the whole active roster. And he’s easily stolen 10 bases.
Apparently, for the award, Gardner beat out fellow teammates CC Sabathia who threw a complete game last Wednesday against Cleveland and Mariano Rivera who earned 4 saves (of his 2013 total 23) this week. Other contenders this week were Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Red Sox), David Ortiz (Red Sox), and Yoenis Cespedes (Athletics), who all had great offensive efforts for their respective teams.
It’s rather fun to see a player succeed, one who usually gets a bit overlooked in the New York lights, one who isn’t really known for his great offense, and one who hasn’t really quite carved that name for himself in the Yankee history books just yet. It’s easy to get caught up in the greats and the names and the legends at Yankee Stadium because they really do deserve the accolades and praise. Each one worked hard to get just the chance to do something like they are known for, and each one put in their dues to become something the papers and the fans and the front office talks about, raves about, even publicly celebrates.
Sure when I think of the Yankees, I think of the legends that have played in pinstripes, or those that current are legends in pinstripes (#42 anyone?). But I also think of those who diligently put in the effort everyday, on the field, off the field, during practice, in the clubhouse, out in the city, across the country as a Yankee representative. They make it possible for Rivera to come into 24 games (so far this season) and work hard for that save. Their running and sliding catches, their short singles and doubles, their quick jumps to catch a fly ball or tag a runner out are cheered on by thousands of fans everyday. And they are often a name for a short season, but such a valuable part of what makes a team, our team, a great team.
And because they’re the Yankees, they’re going to be clean-cut in appearance and in integrity. And if anyone has displayed all of those qualities for this last week, let alone for the whole season already, it’s Brett Gardner. So we thank you, #11, for being you — an integral, very necessary part of this storied franchise.